Echter's Home

Green Thumb Tips

Echter’s Plant Doctors are available during store hours seven days a week to answer
your gardening questions. For accurate diagnosis, it helps to bring in a sample.
 

Flower Gardens
Check your gladiolus, dahlia and canna bulbs you have stored to make sure the media in which they are stored is still moist.
 
Perennials & Roses
Be sure that the winter mulch around your perennials, roses and bulb beds is still in place. Replace mulch that has been blown away by heavy winds.
 
Cut the seed heads from your ornamental grasses and use them to make very attractive dried flower arrangements in your house.
 
Cut back last year's growth from ornamental grasses now before this year's new growth begins.
 
 
Lawns
When snow and ice are gone from shady areas of lawn (especially on the north side of structures) rake
the grass to prevent snow mold.
 
If you see “trails” in your lawn, you may have voles, a common rodent in Colorado. We carry products to eliminate this pest. Voles have been known to chew on bark of trees and shrubs, especially junipers. You may notice dead branches on junipers later in the spring.  Look deep inside the shrub and you will see
where the bark is missing
.

Vegetable Gardens
GrapesFebruary is the best time to prune grape vines. By waiting until just before growth begins in spring, you can recognize and remove any dead or damaged wood.

Test your soil for pH and nutrients so you'll know what is needed before you plant this spring. Soil amendments that improve your gardens can be tilled or spaded now and worked in. We can test your soil for you at Echter’s or use one of our easy-to-do test kits and test it yourself
 
Take inventory of your seed starting supplies, such as pots, soil, and flats. Sterilize any that you have used before or purchase new supplies. Be ready so that you will have everything you need for a successful project.
 
When starting seeds indoors, use a propagation mat. It keeps the soil in the trays at a constant warm temperature. You will get quicker germination, more seedlings and more uniformity.
 

Trees & Shrubs
Knock down heavy snows from your shrubs and tree branches by gently pushing up with a broom. Start
with the lower branches and work your way up the tree or shrub.

Get an early taste of spring. Prune branches of forsythia, quince, spirea, dogwood, viburnum, pussy willow and crabapple and plum trees. Bring them indoors to bloom. Cut the branches at an angle and place them
in a vase of water. Change the water twice a week and in about 3 weeks the stems will bloom. Don't prune the rest of the shrub until after they have flowered in spring.

Prune summer and fall blooming shrubs in February.
This is the time to shape up your trees as well. Remove dead, dying, or unsightly parts of the tree. Your pruning arsenal should include bypass pruners, a compound action lopper, a tree saw and a pole pruner at minimum. Bring in your tools for sharpening if they have become dull. 
 
If you have large trees that need pruning, call us for the name of a tree service. The sooner you call, the more likely you will get your trees pruned at the best time of year.
 
February into early March is the best time to prune fruit trees. Prune out any dead or diseased branches, any branch that is crossing and rubbing another and any “water sprouts” (those weak “branches” that shoot straight up).
 
On a nice warm day, spray Bonide All-Seasons Dormant Oil on trees, shrubs, roses, vines or most anything else you had insect or disease problems on last year. It kills overwintering insect eggs and will help reduce the problem this year. Avoid spraying blue spruce or you will have a green spruce.
 
When shoveling snow from your sidewalks and driveways, pile the snow around trees, shrubs and perennial plants instead of out in the street as long you have not used chemicals or salt to melt the ice. These plants will benefit from the added moisture.
 

Indoor Plants
If a houseplant is not doing well, check these five growing factors: light, temperature, nutrients, moisture, and humidity. They must be favorable to provide good growth. Bring the plant in to our plant doctors if you need help with a diagnosis.
 
Cyclamen are great plants for brightening your home in winter. They prefer a cool, dry and bright place.
The pink, red, white or maroon flowers will continue for weeks.
Try growing a citrus tree in your house. If is best to have a tree which has been grafted, as opposed to trying to grow them from seed. The fragrance of the blossoms is wonderful and after pollinating the flowers with a cotton swab or artist’s brush, you should eventually have fruit. Choose the sunniest window in your house for citrus.
 
Grow your own herbs inside. Either from seeds or plants, there is nothing like fresh herbs for all kinds of winter dishes, like soup, stews, and many other comfort dishes for those cold winter days.
   
If you have a problem with those very annoying fungus gnats coming from the soil under your houseplants, let your plants dry out down to at least 1 inch before watering them. Gnats thrive in moist soil and multiply. Quick Kill Mosquito Bits with Bti, a biological pesticide will control them in the larval stage. Applying a pyrethrum or permethrin to the soil will reduce their numbers. Whitefly sticky traps will also catch those that come out of the soil.
 

Birds

Echter's offers many seed mixes for all types of birds who are seed eaters. Individual types of seed are also popular and there is a great selection to choose from. Sunflower seed, safflower seed and nyjer seed are among the favorite choices. Insect-eating birds such as flickers and nuthatches have a taste for suet and peanut butter rather than seed, so be sure to consider their needs as well.
 

Home & Patio

Urea is a safer ice melt around lawns, plants and pets, but it only melts ice down to about 15 degrees. If you need to use calcium chloride for cold-temperature ice melting, try to avoid pushing it onto desirable plants. Only use as much ice melt as is necessary and try to keep it in the center of the walk.

We can sharpen your mower blade for a nominal fee. Bring in your lawn mower blade on or off the mower. 
 

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